1960-61 Secretary General, NDP.
1963 External   Representative, PCC (Lusaka).
1975 (June) Nominated Member of ZLC.
1976 Secretary for Information (External), ANC (Nkomo).
1976 Delegate (ZAPU) to Geneva
1979 Delegate to Lancaster House (ZAPU)
1980 PF M.P. for Matebeleland South
1980 Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Zimbabwe Government.


George Silundika was born near Plumtree in March 1929. His father, who was a salesman, was a member of the Kalanga tribe.1 George received his primary education at Empandeni Mission and then went to St Francis’ College, Marianhill, Natal, in 1945. In 1951 he enrolled at Fort Hare, in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, for pre-medical studies but was expelled in the following year for political activism.2

He spent one year in East London before being deported back to Southern Rhodesia. ln 1954 he obtained a place at Pius XII University College, Roma, Basutoland (now Lesotho), but was forced to leave after one year through lack of funds.

Returning once again to Southern Rhodesia, he taught for two years at Empandeni Secondary School before joining the Federal Broadcasting Corporation in 1958. He did not remain long in this job and moved within months to the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Salisbury (Harare), where he was engaged as a Research Assistant in the Department of African Studies.

His entry into politics came in 1959. The majority of the ANCongress leaders were in detention and few Africans of merit were prepared to risk the same fate by becoming active in politics. At a meeting in the Cyril Jennings Hall, Silundika asked a number of questions which so impressed Willie Musarurwa that he took steps to seek out the newcomer and persuade him to join him in his efforts to found a new political party to fill the gap left by the banned ANC.

Silundika was a founder-member of the NDP and was elected its Secretary-General at the first congress held in November 1960. In july 1960 he had led the ‘march of the 7 000′3. from the African Townships and impressed the party hierarchy with his combination of intelligence and leadership qualities. Shortly afterwards he travelled to London to help Joshua Nkomo as the party’s External Representative. He was appointed as an adviser to the NDP delegation at the constitutional review conferences in London in December 1960. He was also a member of the NDP delegation to the Southern Rhodesia Constitutional conference in Salisbury (Harare) in February 1961.4

When ZAPU was formed in December 1961, Silundika was not included in the Executive, apparently because of complaints received against him from members of the public.5   He remained, however, a loyal supporter of Joshua Nkomo and when the PCC was formed in 1963 he was appointed Publicity Secretary. he was, however, one of those selected to go outside the country as External Representatives and he moved shortly afterwards to Lusaka where he has lived ever since.

In 1970 he fell out with James Chikerema over the claim by the latter to have the right of making appointments to the ZAPU Executive. This quarrel caused a split within ZAPU in Lusaka. When Chikerema formed FROLIZI the following year Silundika held back, preferring to retain the ZAPU label.6

After the unification of the nationalist groups in December 1974 he remained in Lusaka. In June 1975 he was nominated a member of the ZLC and in the following month he attended the OAU summit meeting in Kampala as a member of the ANC delegation.

By this time, however, the rivalries within the nationalist movement were coming out into the open and when, on 2 September, Chikerema was appointed Secretary of the ZLC, Silundika denounced the appointment with great vigour. This led to his ‘suspension’ from the ANC by Bishop Muzorewa on 12 September. On 25 November he travelled with Jason Moyo to Dar-es-Salaam to attend a meeting of the standing panel of the Liberation Committee of the OAU. Arriving late he found that the chairman had already recognised the credentials of members of the Muzorewa faction to speak for the ANC. After some confusion, however, the matter was resolved by allowing both groups to sit in the ANC seats.

In 1976 he was appointed Secretary for Information by the ANC (Nkomo). In August he represented the ANC at the Non-aligned Summit Conference in Colombo.

On 13 October he was nominated as a member of the ANC (Nkomo) delegation to the Geneva Conference.

George Silundika went to Lusaka with Nkomo and others of the ZAPU leadership to continue the armed struggle after Geneva failed in 1976.

He attended the Lancaster House Conference and returned to fight for his parliamentary seat in Matebeleland South during the election of 1980.  He was successful, and was appointed Minister of Posts and Telecommunications in the cabinet of the first Zimbabwe Government.

George Silundika is recognised as a powerful speaker and writer who has edited with success the Zimbabwe Review, a paper circulating among nationalists in Lusaka.

He is married with two sons and two daughters.

1 See footnote on J.Z. Moyo.

2 This was the period of much apartheid legislation in South Africa and it is interesting to note the number of Rhodesian nationalists who gained their first experience of political activism during this time.

3 This was in protest at the arrest of three NDP leaders (on charges of still belonging to the banned ANCongress). A crowd of some 7 000 marched from Highfield towards the centre of Salisbury (Harare). The march was brought to a halt by a police cordon at the outskirts of the city. The marchers dispersed but gathered near Stodart Hall in Harare. On the following morning they were addressed by a number of speakers from the NDP leadership.

4 He was, therefore, one of those who at first accepted the 15 B Roll seats. Shortly afterwards, however, he decided that “by being denied full rights, the voteless Africans . . . have no alternative but to struggle from the position in they have been led, that is outside the Constitution” (Shamuyarira, p. 202) It is against this background that his subsequent political career, which has been almost wholly in Zambia, must be viewed.

5 It was said that he often refused to attend to the requirements of certain persons – being of the “wrong” tribal origin – who came to his office.

6 According to Chikerema, “the crisis was purely on a tribal basis. Those who cannot accept the idea of unity are looking at the whole issue with an eye to the future. They are Ndebele, and represent less than two per cent of the population”. (Quoted in The Guardian, 12 January, 1971.)